Selling Foreign Products in India - Networking event by maier+vidorno

Selling in India | Learning from the National Sales Heads of international companies

How do India’s famous price sensitivity and bureaucracy affect selling foreign products in India? What does this mean for foreign brands market share in India? Back in summer 2018 we brought together the real experts on this. At M+V’s Sales Networking meet, we brought together top Sales Managers from around India who work for foreign companies selling in India. The meeting provided a platform to share their issues, share their best strategies and talk about how to sell even better in India.

With all our experience of working with foreign companies in India, we can help you sell better in India and improve your sales efficiency. Contact us today!

There are no better experts to tell you about selling foreign products in India than Indian Sales Managers of foreign companies. We brought together 40+ National Sales Managers, MDs, CEOs, CFOs and talked about their issues, day-to-day challenges, and their tips. The biggest headlines are:

  • It is now easier to do business in India (thanks to GST and other reforms), but it is still not the easiest of countries.
  • There is a good market for high quality foreign products and foreign companies can be very successful here.
  • You need to research your market thoroughly.
  • It takes time to get a foothold and build your niche, and you need to take a “long term view” and have modest expectations for the first 2-5 years.
  • What worked in other countries will work in India, but you need to ensure you are selling the right products at the right price.
  • Support from a company who understands the fine print and structure of the market can make all the difference.

We also learned that almost all great Sales people want to learn more about business finance and want to build the soft skills of their teams.

One of the most effective sessions for sharing was a discussion with 6-8 Sales people per table to synthesize what made them “sad, mad and glad”. The results provided great insights into the value-added that come from selling imported products in India as well as the key areas of challenge. Answers were pretty consistent across industries and regions.

The first thing they all said was that there were real benefits to selling high quality products and working for an international company in India. The good technology and product ranges led to satisfied customers and repeat orders. Most said it was possible to get dominant in their market niches thanks to the brand and reputation and continued commitment most of their companies had to providing solutions for customers. Almost all were seeing year on year growth in revenues. They were able to build strong teams with the positive work ethics and culture that come with working for an international company in India, and many found their management accessible and supportive. Having strong finances was also a big plus for a number of Sales Managers.

Challenges of selling foreign products in India

When asked about the challenges National Heads of foreign companies face in selling foreign products in the Indian market, there was an almost equal split between external issues of the market (market transparency, regulation etc.), issues related to customers, to products and organizational issues – mostly revolving around gaps in communication and systems between the head office and the Indian subsidiary. There were also issues with recruiting, training and retaining the best employees.

Here’s a list of all the challenges your Indian subsidiary will face – if they are successful!  Only the successful ones get to have these problems!


  • Lack of market transparency
  • Corruption
  • Regulations, frequent policy changes
  • Tropical climate
  • Negative media
  • Forex fluctuations


  • Unplanned emergencies
  • Delayed payments
  • Client trust & arrogance
  • Customer needs unclear
  • Aligning quality & customer requirement


  • Competitive pricing
  • Limited product range
  • Product price & raw material cost
  • Imitation products
  • Inadequate stocks
  • Local R&D for India


  • Unplanned emergencies
  • Delayed payments
  • Client trust & arrogance
  • Customer needs unclear
  • Aligning quality & customer requirement


  • High lead time for decisions & approvals
  • Risk Averse Management
  • Limited understanding of the market by parent company
  • No focus on market intelligence
  • Technology adoption
  • Lack of reserves

Maier+Vidorno is the leading specialist for companies selling foreign products in India. We have end to end solutions for international companies entering and / or expanding their business in India. Our team of 150+ employees specialized in Market Research, Finance & Accounting, Supply Chain & Order Execution, HR, IT & ERP and Company Secretaries all supported by our in-house recruitment and country wide offices.